No More Grandma’s House


driving east

My grandmother, my dad’s mom, had a stroke in October and has been decreasing in life energy since (the will to live). I have been absorbed with school, my internship, my broken toe, and the rest of my life (emphasis on the selfish) to the point where there was significant distance between the relationship I have with my dad; which is usually super close.

I told my dad I would see him for New Years and those plans fell through and we left it at that until a couple of days ago when I said I would make it out for spring break; at least a few days. My supervisor tried to surprise me with data entry during my time off, but I left dirty dishes and smelly laundry behind to drive to Phoenix to see the only parent I have left and some of the only people on this planet that are still family.

I was busy with IHRSA on Friday.

I packed quickly on Saturday leaving the house a mess. I took the loan car since the dealership hadn’t called on the 20th like they said they would because the replacement engine they ordered was garbage and they are replacing that one too. We, the dogs and I, stop in Yuma for our obligatory walk at the Riverside Park where they have now built a mini railroad attraction, so we don’t stay long.


sangak taco

I arrive in the afternoon and my dad hugged me, fed me, and talked mostly at me for hours before Caroline joined us for dinner at Saffron Jak where I had my first sangak taco and got a sample of the lentil soup for us all to try; delicious by the way. We had coffee at home, tried some snacks from their travels, and Caroline and I stayed up past my bedtime talking while my dad learned more in Blender and my husband fell asleep on a coworkers couch playing video games.

I woke up feeling rough but appreciative this morning. I put some water on my face and walked the dogs at 8:30. Sunday is the traditional breakfast at Wagon Yard, but with a different server and some naughty jokes to accompany my two eggs over medium with tomato slices, wheat toast, and a cup of cottage cheese. Sometimes I have strawberry jam with butter if I didn’t use all the toast with my eggs.

Lunch was late at Hek Yeah BBQ after which I took a 40 minute nap full of broccoli and mac-n-cheese, and appreciated the feeling of being on vacation. Caroline and I walked to the store for eggs, maple almond butter, cherry Icelandic yogurt, broccoli, a lemon, and some pork chops to get us fed around the concert (Sahba Motallebi at the MIM) and ensure breakfast for the week.


Grandma’s last sunset

We tried the almond butter on Triscuits and sourdough rye and left the house at 6:30 after I wished Caleb good night. Before I came to visit I was warned that my grandmother had two weeks to live as her condition had been declining and she had been put into hospice. Saturday I was told she had about two days left because she hadn’t had any water in three days.

We went to the concert and I focused on a million things — the tiny fingers of the percussionist, having my picture taken near the stage after my first concert at the MIM (also on March 25, but in 2011), all the instruments in the museum, the flash photography in the audience, the woman sleeping beside me and then chewing gum like she was chewing through her tongue to stay awake, the personal closeness of the moment with the artist as she shared pieces written after the birth of her second daughter and at 16-year-old fighting for women musicians.


Sahba Motallebi and Naghmeh Farahmand

We get home to smoked salmon and pickled asparagus and then the call comes in from my Aunt Shari that my grandma has passed at 9:30pm on March 25, or a bit prior to. I am overcome with emotion (the hyperventilating type) and am quickly comforted by a blanket, slippers, and hug from Caroline and some words of cheer from Dad. I don’t think I finished my pink tea.

Monday can best be described as having the flu (feeling terrible and unmotivated). I had brought my perishable items (tomatoes, kiwis, etc.) with me and added them to yellow dal and kala chana for lunch, and yogurt with walnuts for breakfast. We went for coffee, I had toast, and walked the dogs in an attempt to stay awake and still took a nap. I made dinner — steamed broccoli with pan-fried zucchini, jalapeño, onion, bell pepper, carrots, and mushrooms. Dessert was almonds and a chocolate biscuit cookie.

Besides all the eating I was able to get some reading done, a conversation with Dad, and picking out patterns for hand-weaved coasters with Caroline till bedtime. Not only was she not taking bereavement time off, but we were dropping her off early so that father and daughter could take a road trip — Superior, Globe, Show Low, through Payson (where grandma had her stroke at her fifth wheel camper, and back to Phoenix for my second dinner at Saffron Jak.


Sparky nap

We met Kathy in Superior and talked about everything past (movie history of U-Turn filmed in 1996), present (she practices the bagpipes every morning), and future (the electric mine and refurbishing of Main Street). We spent 30 minutes in La Luz Del Dia, and the waitress gave us a history lesson as she led us out the back door, waiting for Ed’s La Casita East to open for lunch. On our way out the waitress gave us a history lesson and led us out the back door.

Sparky slept in my lap on the way to Seneca Lake Campground, now abandoned, and we might’ve stayed longer if not for the other car there too — and lack of a pillow and food. We stopped at Salt River Canyon, with one bridge for people and one for cars, but we only took the stairs down to see the fallen sign, the swirling water, and the graffiti underneath. We stopped up the road as well for the scenic viewpoint and had more fun getting a picture of me.

I called Caleb from The Pour Station in Show Low between sips of chai latte while Dad was writing; this trip being a bit of a throwback to the trip book we wrote in 2011. We drove quickly through Payson and back to Saffron Jak where I would have half a piece of sangak (3′ x 1′) to myself to accompany the hummus and lentil soup, both with a touch of citrus. I tried some Stubborn Soda, a mix of their black cherry with tarragon and agave vanilla cream, and though the sugar may be natural there’s still 16 g & 18 g per 8 oz.

If that wasn’t enough food and sweet already, I was treated to a piece of baklava, luckily only the size of my thumb. I spent 30 minutes walking with Caleb on the phone, went for a short run, and then stood outside with the guys (Dad knows more of his neighbors now) for 45 minutes; and held Sparky after he came down the stairs, went back up, and then fell down them when he still heard my voice.

My idea of relaxing, sipping on a Morning Meditation (mostly beets) and chewing the ice from First Watch while we wait for Dad’s office to open (that way someone else with a key is also locking up). While he goes for coffee, I go into Hypatia to see what new museums and learning tools have been built since I’ve been gone. I’m only in there for about 35 minutes, but it plays a trick on your brain to stand still while it appears that you’re skipping through double doors to go shopping for different hands.

I pick up three books off Dad’s work bookshelf and he decides they are coming home with him, and staying there. At least I know I’ll have reading material when I return if I don’t bring my own (though I did this time and didn’t read but a page). He picks me up and we drive to Old Heidelberg Bakery to get Caroline more rye bread, the last two sausage that he likes, and a giant chocolate-dipped macaroon for me. I have broccoli and walnuts at the house to complete my lunch.


Piggy nap

More walking, more reading, and then Dad catches a Giant Swallowtail butterfly. We go to Starbucks for a pre-dinner drink, where I would’ve dried the blonde espresso but they were out so I settled for a shot with some almond milk, and some collaboration. Caroline walks over from her office and we drive to Oregano’s to eat with my aunts, Amanda and Shari, and Amanda’s husband of two years in April, Brandon.

We’re seated at 7:30, share a Guaca-Tony (pizza crust and guacamole), and I eat half a vino bambino salad so that I can help with the garlic and caramelized cheese pizza, the last uneaten square being taken away at 10pm when they close. We would leave shortly after and wouldn’t be the last. We missed having Caleb and Shawn (Shari’s son, my cousin) with his family (his wife Brittany and daughters Penny and Harper, 7 and 5), but hopefully that’s another trip.

We get home late and I stay up even later to finish the book I was lent. Sparky has been restless in his temporary bedding situation, but tonight I will be the one jumping around and using my phone flashlight to check for blood on the pillow after I wake from a dream, with a bloody nose, about someone dying. My last day in Phoenix arrives and I try the matcha latte pancakes from First Watch. Amanda is able to join us and I will give hugs, grab my things and dogs, and head west by 10:30.

It’s 92* when we drive through Yuma, so no puppy play only gas in the car before the price hike over the state line. I take the Palm Ave. exit, less than two miles from the house, and a car tries to hit me (getting closer as I honked), but it turned out ok.


driving west

I’ve written three drafts trying to figure out this week — the concert, food, driving, family, death; and the details of our conversations (what made me laugh, what kept me up at night, and what was left unsaid), all the missed photo opportunities because I forgot my camera, and whether or not I should’ve stayed longer to build relationships that my grandma helped to hold together over the years.

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IHRSA 2018


some sexy swag

IHRSA stands for International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association. My professor told the class about it a couple of weeks ago and I only know one other student that planned on going for work; I went for the swag, sweat, and socializing.

Let’s back up the day a bit first… I was sleeping peacefully when in the middle of the night I was attacked by a little blind dog inviting himself to bed, then I had to pee, then I had a dream about being in a cafe falling off a cliff, then my alarm went off and I wondered where my sleep had gone; especially since I went to bed at least 30 minutes past my usual bed time.

I was thinking about what weights I would lift so my tired ass wouldn’t have to run, such as single-arm rows and overhead press, but when I got to the gym I got distracted by conversation and invited to a BBQ on Saturday (and later invited up to Monterey — there Sunday and back Monday via text) and to the treadmill I went and still improved my 5k runtime. I’m down to 29:14.


sounds vibration machine

I left happy and sweaty, took a quick shower and grabbed my green drink (spinach, banana, cauliflower, Meyer lemon, hemp and chia seeds, pine nuts, almond milk, some leftover coffee, and protein powder). I drank half on the way to school, read for 15 minutes in the car, and finished the rest before class started.

We went over the schedule since the professor wrote in the syllabus that we wouldn’t have class the day after the break, but she made a practicum and presentation due, so we will have to work them in around field trips, guest speakers, quizzes, and other assignments to complete them.

I was going to leave after class today to the convention center but my ride didn’t show to class, so I walked to my car and drove reluctantly to work because it was sprinkling, I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, and no one likes to be disappointed. I’ve known people who can’t swim because they’re landlocked, but I hadn’t met kids that couldn’t and absolutely refused to learn how to jump rope for fear they would bloody their knee… again.


Keiser Air250 Leg Press

I passed out jerseys for soccer and the kids were switching teams and complaining and wearing them around their neck, so I took the jerseys off. I was so excited when school was over and powered through some apple slices and a sandwich before parking a few blocks away from the convention center to save $20.

I got on my first LimeBike, the E version, because that’s what was available and I like the extra electric assistance. It took me four minutes and 75 cents to ride and park. The non-electric ones are free this month and I will learn that on the return ride which would’ve otherwise cost me a $1 (so better to ride the full 30 minutes).

I walked in and reluctantly passed most of the excitement before cutting in at section C, with check-in at section D. This nice lady showed me their hand/foot/both machine (the one I had seen at Planet Fitness, but 10x more awesome. It supports 600 pounds, swivels for wheelchair access, and can lock in hands or feet for amputees or even those with limited movement and the screen offers so many options.


shiny and strong kettlebells

I checked in, got my large badge, and a bag with some papers and swag and was on my way, strutting my stuff, to sweat. I went towards the back and got a free boxing session and got to keep the gloves I used from Century; I want the fancy looking ones, on sale only $24. I also asked the trainer where she worked and sadly she just moved to LA.

I tried Strong by Zumba; got my body measured by one million dots (results will be emailed to me); tried the Hedstrom Surge (an adjustable “sandbag” filled with water, from 10 to 65 lb.); stood in a sound tunnel with oxygen (too much), but you can tune it for muscle soreness, depression, diabetes, etc.

I tried the Keiser leg press with hand adjustments (between 200 and 547 resistance for me) and earned a shirt; the Canali Method, KTI (Kinetics – Techniques – Innovation) leg raise from 0-300% body weight and I was around 100%, or 9 out of 20; tried the Elevate incline row at full resistance and another station for the jump/leg press and pull-up (where a woman asked me to do some more for her pic/video).


leg extension machine, Canali System

I tried a treadmill that is more shock absorbent and could’ve stayed on longer and got into a massage chair that presses arms, feet, and shoulders and wanted to stay in that forever — there is no time limit here and everyone is happy to show you how to do it or be busy talking all over the machine. I tried a treadmill with farmers carry, sled push, and resistance pull options and another one that the belt goes both ways to simulate a parachute or sled.

I tried a variation of the Curve treadmill with StrideLab built-in and different language capability (as we found out the hard way trying to navigate the menu); got on the VersaClimber and up to 200 steps/minute (the record is 400); and tried swinging the 6 lb. RMT (rotational movement training) Club; and got the Calyana yoga mat wrapper slapper from Airex.

I got to try so much and see so much more. I’m going back tomorrow for the cryotherapy, aerial silks, a spin bike that leans, kettlebells that sparkle, Google-colored equipment, and all the free food, drinks, clothes, gear, bags, information, and conversation. I’m going to get my certification and then start working at a gym with all these workout options, or maybe I do a traveling road show.

I know there are tons of details I left out and Caleb suggested I wear a GoPro but that it would get in the way of my headstands; he knows me so well. I took my badge off for that reason and left it accessible for scanning. I left there feeling happier (ego boosts of being told I’m stronger than I look and I’m working out on the machine at max), stronger and more energized and I didn’t even try the espresso.

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Put Out



Put forth what you want from the universe and it shall provide. It may sound cliché, but it’s working for me. I woke up feeling and looking great and took that energy to the gym to improve my 5k runtime to 29:33 and get in some weights and socializing too.

Caleb went to the USS Alabama with some of the guys today and I always enjoy when he’s able to explore new things, even if I’m not there. Plus, I remember going with my dad over ten years ago — when I was a decade of difference of a person.

I had yummy oatmeal and pineapple for breakfast and listened to classical music on the ride to school while thinking about the tire pressure light that came on and then went off again — so that’s on the to-do list.

I get to class and am not ready to listen to the professor for an hour and lucky me we have a guest speaker today, Kalina Cardoso, to talk about her progress and the lessons she has learned through Yelp, fliers, schools, determination, and a list of ex-employers.


3rd graders with interns

From there, I enjoy some quinoa with carrots and bell pepper for lunch before arriving to McGill to talk about planting blueberries, kale, garlic, and mint in the garden. I’m glad to see that the school is growing and the kids are learning.

I got free purple kale from the grocery store yesterday because the cashier didn’t know what it was and today got grapes and cheese as a healthy snack for my ride home and a treat to share with the dogs before their afternoon walk.

I made a plethora of salad with an egg in one bowl and a banana in the next for dinner and then had a great conversation with Caleb before taking an extra steamy shower… so many ways to distract myself from doing homework.

I work on my resume and PowerPoint and plan for the convention this week and socialize a bit more before I feel like reading and message my dad. I brush my teeth and realize I still need to blog, for so many reasons.

What do you put out into the world? And what are you getting back?

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Social Shower Sunday

18 Days of March:


new housemate

1) I bought a sports ball pump and 24 jerseys (12 blue and 12 yellow) to make recess a more fair and fast process when picking teams; and am in the process of buying six youth basketballs with a mesh bag (I’ve forwarded the invoice to my boss).

2) We got our 4th Mighty Nest delivery — two snack-size Duralex glass dishes.

3) I completed my first two miles on the Curve treadmill in 25 minutes and burned 535 calories, or so the machine tells me. It’s a great mix between in/outdoors for pacing.


Legos before school

4) I walked the neighbor’s kids to school every morning for two weeks, and ran back home with their dog, and they called me one morning to wake me up.

5) I’ve been working on stretching, my resume, and building power points for class. The first one is a behavioral change so I can better understand what my clients will be going through. I’ve chosen to do 10 minutes a day for six weeks and am stretching more often.

I have to build a resume as 40% of my grade, but also as something to get me a job in the future as I continue to improve my Linked-In account. I have almost weekly presentations with different partners to get me used to working with varying personalities and public speaking, so that I stand out to my clientele.


pulmonary powerpoint

6) I’ve learned that: sometimes it’s easier to copy your Facebook post to express your feelings for your Mother’s anniversary:

When you wake up feeling sad and blame it on PMS, but it’s too soon. You surround yourself with happy things.. healthy food, happy kids, fit classmates, peanut butter, a sweaty run, a paycheck, blind dogs, sunshine, a hot shower, a spicy meal, a sappy film..

Oh wait, then you remember why you’ve been feeling down all day as the memories of your mother and your last time with some of the family together plays through your mind as tears and snot drown your outfit in all the emotions you’ve been holding in all day, but trying to release. It’s three years later, but the way I’m feeling it could be the day after. I love you Mom.

7) I created a fundraiser on Facebook to buy new fitness equipment, garden supplies, and lesson materials to help the kids learn and play but had no luck raising even a dollar. I’ll have to call in the big name companies to donate and teach the kids to take care of what they have now.


leprechaun slides down and can’t climb out

8) I got to see my first leprechaun trap, something I don’t remember doing in school.

9) I ran my first 5k in five months and finished in 29:55. I still can’t curl my toe all the way or do a proper lunge, but I’m making fantastic progress otherwise.

10) I got invited to an after school lip-sync battle among kids aged 8-10 and some performances were cute, one emotionally moving, and two that showed these kids watch too much YouTube (and not the good channels).


that face your husband makes when you send food pics

11) I went to dinner at Cafe Coyote in Old Town with some staff from McGill and the teacher that organized it was sure to invite everyone from janitor to principal and even the YMCA staff of which two showed up to equal about 15. Two spouses, a boyfriend, and a roommate also joined for an entertaining evening.

Then we went to Old Town Improv Co. because one of the guys in the show used to work at the school and we were here to support him and to deliver 20 cards from 1st graders that thanked him for being kind and drew wonderful descriptive pictures of his likeness. The show was 80 minutes long and we, especially me, laughed out loud the whole time.


cute card

12) I got a certificate of completion for The Hidden Messages in Food from the IDEA Health and Fitness Assc. and learned about the traits of food, the importance of eating inline with nature, and how food affects our chakras.

13) I learned about sensory deprivation tanks, of which there are three locations in San Diego — closer than the anechoic chamber at Orfield Laboratories in Minnesota.

14) I learned about Treacher Collins syndrome which somehow led me to an episode of Mr. Rogers, a show I wish was still on TV along with Reading Rainbow and The Magic Schoolbus. I also learned about Harlequin Ichthyosis which reminds me that I have a million reasons to be grateful every day.


all the nut butters!

15) I bought seven new peanut butters, one sunflower, one almond, and one cashew. I’ve also started taking a mix of vitamins (working on my B’s and D) and the dogs take a multi and glucosamine to aid in their senior status.

16) Caleb has been gone two weeks and I just bought groceries to get me through the week before I go to Phoenix to see my dad; it has been eight months.

17) I finished one book, but am currently reading 3.5 others along with required articles and research for school and other interesting finds.

18) I talked with my dad, which makes me happy as usual, so I should find more time to do it. I can blame not visiting on my broken toe, but I didn’t break all my fingers too.


Dr. Suess at McGill

19) I’ve accumulated 20 hours with Youth to the Core and teaching the kids about basketball, peer pressure, stretching and cramps, proper nutrition, and respect.

20) I’m getting stronger, earning 11 trophies in FitNotes, so I increased my goals!

Q&A a Day: In three words, describe your spirituality: stack of books.

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Today is the Tenth!


I woke up to Sparky’s old face; he’ll be 11 years old next month. Caleb messaged me a reminder that we’ve been married ten years today and I thanked him for putting up with me for almost 13 years and said I would be willing to try for another ten; time flies.

I made an egg, spinach, banana, mocha almond butter sandwich for breakfast and ace my test about cardiovascular diseases — all which say to exercise and burn up to 2,000 calories a week (who measures that?) — before going to the school to try out the green and blue pinnies I bought for the kids (which fit third graders and below — and me).

My legs are tired from improving my mile-and-a-half runtime by 2 min and 41 sec this week and I went too heavy on the incline bench and used my feet to help me re-rack the bar. I arrive home to a Mantry delivery of chorizo, sriracha pretzels, cocktail mix, chimichurri rub, hatch chile ketchup, and chocolate.

I walk the dogs and am invited to dinner next door, even though I have leftovers and was craving tacos from Salud! (which I forgot to get on the way home). While over there I learned that baby whales have to hold their breath during birth until they reach the surface or they’ll drown and that they can gain weight at a rate of ten pounds per hour.

I brought home leftovers for my salad tomorrow and some for puppies with their dinner; and was gifted two pairs of reversible exercise pants, complete with pocket. Dogs and husband are sleeping, so it’s homework, looking at food, and reading before bed for me.

I had another post planned for today, but it will be appropriate for any day on after (at least until the 20th anniversary). Oh, and I can finally tell you what the gift I opened on February 7th was.. an aluminum necklace that says “I love you” in ASL.

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